WHERE does your fitness progress come from? Does it come from training hard? Yes. Does it come from your nutrition? Yes! But what people sometimes miss out on is that your fitness gains are significantly affected by how well you recover from your exercise.
When we train hard and not have optimal nutrition and sleep strategies, we place ourselves at the risk of getting burnt out, over-trained or getting injured. More importantly, your ability to exercise well is determined by your ability to recover from your workouts.
So what are some strategies we can use to improve recovery:
If there’s something that a lot of gym-goers and exercisers overlook, it’s quality sleep. Sleep is when our body regenerates and restores itself. It is when hormones are released that allow us to adapt from our exercise. For people who are into fitness, we should target at least seven hours of sleep each night, with two hours coming before midnight.
For athletes, it is best to sleep upwards of eight hours each night. Afternoon naps also help improve recovery so this should not be overlooked.
Improve your nutrition
Studies show that eating or drinking something with carbohydrates and protein after your workouts help in replenishing your energy stores. Your ability to replenish energy after your workouts help determine how much energy you’ll have for the next workout session.
Practice active recovery
Passive recovery is lounging around watching Netflix. However, for some exercisers, what may be more effective is light exercise. This helps with circulation and gets rid of metabolites in the blood. The key is to keep the exercise light. Think a light jog, cycling session, easy swimming, light stretching and the like.
Get a massage
A massage is good for soothing out tired and aching muscles. Studies involving massage has shown that it improves well-being and relaxation.
So when feeling like your workouts are not improving, or if you feel like you’re working too hard with nothing to show for it, evaluate your recovery and see if that’s something that’s hindering you from improving.
As always, consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise program.